Strange Days Indeed: The Snappah Hits the Big Screen

The SnappahA nonprofit called Sea Studios Foundation is making a film in cooperation with National Geographic Television and PBS, called Strange Days on Planet Earth, to be hosted by Edward Norton. This film will spotlight key issues affecting the health of the world ocean and highlight cutting edge scientific research.

A producer recently contacted me to request the use of one of my studio photographs entitled "The Snappah" for use in Season 2 of the program due out this winter.

The Snappah (a play on how a Bostonian might refer to a Red Snapper) was a creative shot I came up with one day while in my class on Introduction to Studio Lighting at CDIA. The image just popped into my head of an Alice in Wonderland type of outrageous dinner setting with a fresh fish too huge for the plate, accompanied by absurd utensils, and a bouquet of something with real punch. That morning I took a walk through Whole Foods Markets for inspiration, and voila, I was smitten with the snapper.

I'm absolutely thrilled on so many levels to know that one of my images has become so successful. On Flickr the image quickly made it into Explore, Flickr's most interesting photos for a given day, and was complemented by scores of comments and favorites. To have the image used in PBS science documentary in conjunction with the National Geographic Society is a dream come true and validates all the time and hard work I've been putting into goal to become a professional photographer.

You can read more about my experience at the Center for Digital Imaging Arts at Boston University in Waltham, MA.

CDIA: Split Shot - Integrating Photoshop in the Creative Studio

Integrating Photoshop Into the Creative Studio -- That's the snazzy title of the 8th course in CDIA's Professional Digital Photography program. Not too long ago, photographers that shot film could spend hours setting up perfect lighting in a shot using snoots, grids, reflectors, gobos, and other light modifiers to capture the perfect image with one shutter click. With the advent of digital photography its possible to achieve that perfect shot in far less time by shooting several versions of the set then combine the images in Photoshop using layer masks and blending. In the digital photographer's studio, the final image is often a composite that makes best use of time between setting up the lighting and post production editing.

The first exercise in this course is known as a split shot, a technique to control reflections in a set. Imagine an art director sets up a product shot in the studio composed of a couple books and some CDs, carefully placing each element in his or her preferred configuration. Then its the photographer's job to capture the image just as the art director composed it, even though the set may have elements of differing reflective surfaces or different contrasts. The CDs have prismatic reflections of the books behind them, and the books may have shadows or glossy reflections of the other books or CDs in front of them.

To achieve a well lit, final image begin by capturing the original set, then use light modifers such as cards or gobos to capture subsequent shots where one element of the set is lit properly. Weight down the tripod to completely avoid nudging the camera since later several captures will be layered and combined.

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